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Before drawing conclusions on the contribution of an effective intervention to daily practice and initiating dissemination, its quality and implementation in daily practice should be optimal. The aim of this process evaluation was to study these aspects alongside a randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of a multidisciplinary biannual medication review in long-term care organizations (NTR3569).
Process evaluation with multiple measurements.
Thirteen units for people with dementia in six long-term care organizations in the Netherlands.
Physicians, pharmacists, and nursing staff of participating units.
The PROPER intervention is a structured and biannually repeated multidisciplinary medication review supported by organizational preparation and education, evaluation, and guidance.
Web-based questionnaires, interviews, attendance lists of education sessions, medication reviews and evaluation meetings, minutes, evaluation, and registration forms.
Participation rates in education sessions (95%), medication reviews (95%), and evaluation meetings (82%) were high. The intervention’s relevance and feasibility and applied implementation strategies were highly rated. However, the education sessions and conversations during medication reviews were too pharmacologically oriented for several nursing staff members. Identified barriers to implementation were required time, investment, planning issues, and high staff turnover; facilitators were the positive attitude of professionals toward the intervention, the support of higher management, and the appointment of a local implementation coordinator.
Implementation was successful. The commitment of both higher management and professionals was an important factor. This may partly have been due to the subject being topical; Dutch long-term-care organizations are pressed to lower inappropriate psychotropic drug use.
Direct detection of the Epoch of Reionization via the redshifted 21-cm line will have unprecedented implications on the study of structure formation in the early Universe. To fulfill this promise current and future 21-cm experiments will need to detect the weak 21-cm signal over foregrounds several order of magnitude greater. This requires accurate modeling of the galactic and extragalactic emission and of its contaminants due to instrument chromaticity, ionosphere and imperfect calibration. To solve for this complex modeling, we propose a new method based on Gaussian Process Regression (GPR) which is able to cleanly separate the cosmological signal from most of the foregrounds contaminants. We also propose a new imaging method based on a maximum likelihood framework which solves for the interferometric equation directly on the sphere. Using this method, chromatic effects causing the so-called “wedge” are effectively eliminated (i.e. deconvolved) in the cylindrical (k⊥, k∥) power spectrum.
A short status update on the LOFAR Epoch of Reionization (EoR) Key Science Project (KSP) is given, regarding data acquisition, data processing and analysis, and current power-spectrum limits on the redshifted 21-cm signal of neutral hydrogen at redshifts z = 8 − 10. With caution, we present a preliminary astrophysical analysis of ∼60 hr of processed LOFAR data and their resulting power spectrum, showing that potentially already interesting limits on X-ray heating during the Cosmic Dawn can already be gained. This is by no means the final analysis of this sub-set of data, but illustrates the future potential when all nearly 3000 hr of data in hand on two EoR windows will have been processed.
We studied the patient and non-patients factors of inappropriate psychotropic drug (PD) prescription for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in nursing home patients with severe dementia.
In a cross-sectional study, the appropriateness of prescriptions was explored using the Appropriate Psychotropic drug use In Dementia (APID) index sum score. This index assesses information from medical records on indication, evaluation, dosage, drug–drug interactions, drug–disease interactions, duplications, and therapy duration. Various measurements were carried out to identify the possible patient and non-patient factors. Linear multilevel regression analysis was used to identify factors that are associated with APID index sum scores. Analyses were performed for groups of PDs separately, i.e. antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics.
The sample consisted of 338 patients with a PD prescription that used 147 antipsychotics, 167 antidepressants, 85 anxiolytics, and 76 hypnotics. It was found that older patients and more severe aggression, agitation, apathy, and depression were associated with more appropriate prescriptions. Additionally, less appropriate prescriptions were found to be associated with more severe anxiety, dementia diagnoses other than Alzheimer dementia, more physician time available per patient, more patients per physician, more years of experience of the physician, and higher nurse's workload.
The association of more pronounced NPS with more appropriate PD prescriptions implies that physicians should pay more attention to the appropriateness of PD prescriptions when NPS are less manifest. Non-patient-related factors are also associated with the appropriateness of PD prescriptions. However, especially considering that some of these findings are counter-intuitive, more research on the topic is recommended.
Since its development, the Qualidem has had items that were considered unsuited for people with very severe dementia. This study attempted to investigate the applicability of all Qualidem items in people with all stages of dementia severity.
Four data sets that contained Qualidem observations on people with dementia were combined. Dementia severity was categorized based on the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), with a dichotomization of very severe dementia (GDS 7) and others (GDS 1–6). Unidimensional latent-trait models (Mokken scaling) were estimated to fit the Qualidem responses in the overall sample and the dichotomized groups. Scalability was assessed using coefficients of homogeneity (Loevinger's H), while reliability was assessed with Cronbach's α and ρ.
Combining the four databases resulted in 4,354 Qualidem measurements. The scalability of all scales was considered acceptable in the overall sample, as well is in the subgroups (all H > 0.3). Additionally, the reliability was good–excellent in the scales: “positive affect,” “positive self-image,” “care relationship,” and “negative affect.” Reliability was questionable–acceptable for “feeling at home,” “social relations,” “social isolation,” and “restless tense behavior.” Reliability was poor for “having something to do.”
Statistical considerations allow using all Qualidem items in all dementia stages. Future research should determine balance of statistical- versus conceptual-based reasoning in this academic debate.
To explore the aspects of daily life that give people with young-onset dementia (YOD) a sense of usefulness.
Eighteen people with YOD and 21 informal caregivers participated in this qualitative study. Participants were recruited from specialized day-care centers for people with YOD in the Netherlands. Four focus groups were conducted with people with YOD, and four with informal caregivers. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using inductive content analysis.
Four themes emerged from the analysis: (1) staying engaged, (2) loss in daily life, (3) coping and adaptation, and (4) external support. Staying engaged in activities that provide a sense of usefulness or participating in leisure and recreational activities as much as possible in daily life emerged as the key theme. Retaining a sense of usefulness was considered both important and possible by having social roles or participating in functional activities. The importance of activities providing a sense of usefulness seemed to decrease over time, while the need for pleasant activities seemed to increase. Experienced loss, coping, adaptation, and available external support are important parts of the context in which the person with YOD tries to engage in daily life as much as possible. Active coping styles and external support appear to play a facilitating role in staying engaged.
It is important for people with YOD to have the opportunity to feel useful; especially in the early stages of the condition. Caregivers should be educated in ways to enhance a sense of usefulness and engagement in daily life for people with YOD.
Both neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) and psychotropic drug use (PDU) are common in institutionalized People with Young Onset Dementia (PwYOD) and can produce negative outcomes such as reduced quality of life and high workload. In community-dwelling PwYOD, NPS are found to be associated with unmet care needs. This emphasizes the importance of a care program for the management of NPS in institutionalized PwYOD that also addresses unmet care needs and PDU. The objectives of the Behavior and Evolution of Young ONset Dementia part 2 (BEYOND-II) study are to develop a care program for the management of NPS in institutionalized PwYOD and to evaluate its effectiveness.
The care program consists of an educational program combined with an intervention to manage NPS with the following five steps: the evaluation of psychotropic drug prescription, detection, analysis (including the detection of unmet needs), treatment and the evaluation of NPS. A stepped wedge design will be used to evaluate its effectiveness. The primary outcomes are agitation and aggression and other NPS. The secondary outcomes are PDU, quality of life, the workload of nursing staff and job satisfaction. Additionally, a process analysis and a cost-consequence analysis will be conducted.
The study protocol of the Beyond-II study describes the development, implementation and evaluation of a care program for the management of NPS in institutionalized PwYOD. This care program provides a structured method for the management of NPS, in which unmet needs and PDU are also addressed.
Background: Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is an autosomal dominant condition affecting distal hand strength, energy, and cognition. Increasingly, patients and families are seeking information online. An online neuromuscular patient portal under development can help patients access resources and interact with each other regardless of location. It is unknown how individuals living with myotonic dystrophy interact with technology and whether barriers to access exist. We aimed to characterize technology use among participants with myotonic dystrophy and to determine whether there is interest in a patient portal. Methods: Surveys were mailed to 156 participants with myotonic dystrophy type 1 registered with the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry. Results: Seventy-five participants (60% female) responded; almost half were younger than 46 years. Most (84%) used the internet; almost half of the responders (47%) used social media. The complexity and cost of technology were commonly cited reasons not to use technology. The majority of responders (76%) were interested in a myotonic dystrophy patient portal. Conclusions: Patients in a Canada-wide registry of myotonic dystrophy have access to and use technology such as computers and mobile phones. These patients expressed interest in a portal that would provide them with an opportunity to network with others with myotonic dystrophy and to access information about the disease.
Long-term care facilities have partly taken over the traditional asylum function of psychiatric hospitals and house an increasing group of patients with mental–physical multimorbidity (MPM). Little is known about the characteristics, behavior, and care dependency of these patients. This paper aims to describe these aspects.
Explorative, descriptive study among patients with MPM without dementia (n = 142), living in 17 geronto-psychiatric nursing home (NH) units across the Netherlands, stratified by those referred from mental healthcare services (MHS) and other healthcare services (OHS). Data collection consisted of chart review, semi-structured interviews, (brief) neuropsychological testing, and self-report questionnaires. Patients referred from MHS (n = 58) and from OHS (n = 84) were compared by descriptive statistics.
Despite exclusion of patients with dementia, the majority of participants had cognitive impairment. Prevalence and severity of frontal impairment were high, as well as the number of patients with clinically relevant neuropsychiatric symptoms. MHS patients were younger, had more chronic psychiatric disorders, and more often used antipsychotics. Neuropsychiatric symptoms, domains of care dependency, physical conditions and concomitant medication use differed not significantly between the subgroups.
Both groups of patients with MPM showed heterogeneity in various aspects but differed not significantly regarding the consequences of their multimorbidity. In a variety of characteristics, this group seems to be different from other NH patient groups, which requires extra knowledge and skills of the staff. To uncover which knowledge and skills are necessary, the next step should be to investigate the specific care needs of NH patients with MPM without dementia.
This study explores the appropriateness of psychotropic drug (PD) use for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in nursing home patients with dementia.
A cross-sectional study on 559 patients with dementia residing on dementia special care units in Dutch nursing homes was conducted. Appropriateness of PD use was assessed using the Appropriate Psychotropic drug use In Dementia (APID) index. The APID index score is calculated using information about individual PDs from patients’ medical records. The index encompasses seven (different) domains of appropriateness, i.e. indication, evaluation, dosage, drug-drug interactions, drug-disease interactions, duplications, and therapy duration.
A total of 578 PDs were used for NPS by 60% of the nursing home patients. Indication, evaluation, and therapy duration contributed the most to inappropriate use. Ten per cent of the PDs scored fully appropriate according to the APID index sum score, 36% scored fully appropriate for indication, 46% scored fully appropriate for evaluation, and 58% scored fully appropriate for therapy duration. Antidepressants were used the most appropriately, and antiepileptics the most inappropriately.
The minority of the PD use was fully appropriate. The results imply that PD use for NPS in dementia can be improved; the appropriateness should be optimized with a clinical focus on the appropriate indications, evaluations, and therapy duration.
Strongly correlated non-intrinsic variability between 5 and 8.5 GHz has been observed in one of the lensed images of the gravitational lens B1600+434. These non-intrinsic (i.e. ‘external’) variations are interpreted as radio-micro-lensing of relativistic μas-scale jet components in the source at a redshift of z=1.59 by massive compact objects in the halo of the edge-on disk lens galaxy at z=0.41. We shortly summarize these observations and discuss several new observational and theoretical programs to investigate this new phenomenon in more detail.
We report the discovery of a new double image gravitational lens system B1030+074 which was found during the Jodrell Bank - VLA Astrometric Survey (JVAS). We have collected extensive radio data on the system using the VLA, MERLIN, the EVN and the VLBA as well as HST WFPC2 and NICMOS observations. The lensed images are separated by 1.56 arcseconds and their flux density ratio at centimetric wavelengths is approximately 14:1 although the ratio is slightly frequency dependent and the images appear to be time variable. The HST pictures show both the lensed images and the lensing galaxy close to the weaker image. The lensing galaxy has substructure which could be either part of the galaxy or a companion object. We have modeled B1030+074 using a Singular Isothermal Ellipsoid that yielded a time delay of 156/h50 days. This lens is likely to be suitable for the measurement of the Hubble constant.
People with dementia may benefit from palliative care which specifically addresses the needs of patients and families affected by this life-limiting disease. On behalf of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), we recently performed a Delphi study to define domains for palliative care in dementia and to provide recommendations for optimal care. An international panel of experts in palliative care, dementia care or both, achieved consensus on almost all domains and recommendations, but the domain concerning the applicability of palliative care to dementia required revision.
To examine in detail, the opinions of the international panel of 64 experts around the applicability of palliative care, we explored feedback they provided in the Delphi process. To examine which experts found it less important or less applicable, ordinal regression analyses related characteristics of the panelists to ratings of overall importance of the applicability domain, and to agreement with the domain's four recommendations.
Some experts expressed concerns about bringing up end-of-life issues prematurely and about relabeling dementia care as palliative care. Multivariable analyses with the two outcomes of importance and agreement with applicability indicated that younger or less experienced experts and those whose expertise was predominantly in dementia care found palliative care in dementia less important and less applicable.
Benefits of palliative care in dementia are acknowledged by experts worldwide, but there is some controversy around its early introduction. Further studies should weigh concerns expressed around care receiving a “palliative” label versus the benefits of applying palliative care early.
Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) often occur in patients with dementia. Understanding the course of NPS in dementia is important for healthcare professionals for psycho-educational purposes and adequate and timely interventions to prevent or diminish NPS as much as possible.
We conducted a systematic literature search in several electronic databases. We combined search strings for the terms dementia, community-dwelling, cohort studies and NPS. Screening titles and abstracts, assessing the methodological quality and data-extraction were independently conducted by at least two authors.
This literature search revealed 6605 unique records of which 23 studies were included in data synthesis. In total 7184 patients participated in the included studies with a mean number of 312. Sixty percent of the participants were female and the mean age of all participants was 74.8 years. Follow-up varied between 1 and 6 years; in 17 studies loss to follow-up was less than 20% per year. NPS are highly prevalent, incident and persistent although frequency parameters vary considerably across studies. Delusions/delusional misidentification, wandering/agitation, aberrant motor behavior/motor hyperactivity and apathy are the most common NPS. For hallucinations, delusions/delusional misidentification, paranoia, aggression, wandering/agitation, aberrant motor behavior/motor hyperactivity, disinhibition, apathy, and sleep disturbance increasing trends in point prevalence rates have been found.
NPS in community-dwelling patients are frequent and persistent. The increasing trends of several NPS in the course of dementia require a preventive approach of professional caretakers. For such an approach, a timely diagnosis and adequate professional support to prevent or diminish these problems is necessary.
Aspects of eudaimonic well-being, such as personal growth (PG) and purpose in life (PL), have been highlighted as important to older adults’ health. We investigated the relationship of PG and PL with patterns of survival to the age of 85 years and older.
The sample included 8,880 women from the Women's Health Initiative cohort who reached 85 years of age by December 1, 2013, and for whom data on the PG and PL constructs were available. Women were classified into mutually exclusive outcomes: Healthy, Prevalent, Incident, Disabled, and Deceased. PG and PL were each assessed using a modified seven-item measure derived from the Psychological Well-Being scale.
Women were most commonly classified as Healthy (38.2%, n = 3,395), followed by Incident (24.4%, n = 2,163), Disabled (19.0%, n = 1,685), Prevalent (14.3%, 1,273), and Deceased (4.1%, n = 364). Women with low PL and PG levels were more likely to have prevalent mobility disability and disease or incident death before the age of 85 years. Specifically, those who reported low levels of PG and PL had a 2.1- and 3.6-fold higher risk, respectively, of death.
These findings indicate that even among the oldest old, experience of purposeful life engagement and continuing PG may contribute to better health outcomes.
Although exact figures are lacking, many studies show that mental–physical multimorbidity is common in older people (van den Brink et al., 2013). Particularly, older patients with a chronic disease often have psychiatric disorders (Verdurmen et al., 2006). Conversely, medical comorbidity is common in psychiatric patients, especially cardiovascular, pulmonary, and neurological disorders and diabetes (Lyketsos et al., 2002).
The combination of strong gravitational lensing and stellar kinematics provides a powerful and robust method to investigate the mass and dynamical structure of early-type galaxies. We demonstrate this approach by analysing two massive ellipticals from the XLENS Survey for which both high-resolution HST imaging and X-Shooter spectroscopic observations are available. We adopt a flexible axisymmetric two-component mass model for the lens galaxies, consisting of a generalised NFW dark halo and a realistic self-gravitating stellar mass distribution. For both systems, we put constraints on the dark halo inner structure and flattening, and we find that they are dominated by the luminous component within one effective radius. By comparing the tight inferences on the stellar mass from the combined lensing and dynamics analysis with the values obtained from stellar population studies, we conclude that both galaxies are characterised by a Salpeter-like stellar initial mass function.
Apathy is common in nursing home (NH) residents and it overlaps with depression. This study examines the effects of a multidisciplinary depression program on apathy and depressive motivational and mood symptoms.
Secondary analyses of a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized controlled trial were conducted with six measurements. Sixteen dementia NH units and 17 somatic units were enrolled. In the intervention condition, a program containing depression assessment procedures and multidisciplinary treatment (activating strategies, psychotherapy, and medication) was introduced. Usual care was provided in the control condition. Outcomes were assessed using the 10-item Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia.
Intention-to-treat analyses showed that the whole depression management program reduced apathy in dementia units (p < 0.001; Cohen's d, −0.35), and depressive motivational symptoms in somatic units (p = 0.008; Cohen's d, −0.40). Depressive mood symptoms were not affected in both unit types. The effect on apathy in dementia units was mainly attributed to activating strategies (p < 0.001; Cohen's d, −0.73). The effect on motivational symptoms in somatic units was mainly attributed to psychotherapy (p = 0.002; Cohen's d, −0.80). Apathy worsening was associated with pharmacological depression treatment in both unit types (p = 0.009; Cohen's d, 0.35).
Depression management may affect apathy and depressive symptoms differently, which underpins the position of apathy as a distinct syndrome. NH professionals can effectively use activating strategies in dementia units, and psychotherapy in somatic units. More research is needed on treating depressive mood symptoms, and on effects of antidepressants in NHs.
One of the main objectives of the Cosmic Lens All-Sky Survey (CLASS) collaboration has been to find gravitational lens (GL) systems at radio wavelengths that are suitable for the determination of time delays between image pairs. The survey is now near completion and at least 18 GL systems have been found. Here, I will discuss our efforts to measure time delays from several of these systems with the ultimate aim of constraining the Hubble Constant (H0). Thus far three CLASS GL systems (B0218+357, B1600+434 and B1608+656) have yielded measurements of time delays, from which values of H0 ≈ 60–70 km s−1 Mpc−1 have been estimated. Although most GL systems give similar values of H0, statistical and systematic uncertainties are still considerable. To reduce these uncertainties, I will mention two monitoring programs that we are undertaking to (re)measure time delays in 14 CLASS GL systems and address several important issues for the near future.